If your teen is working in a restaurant as a server, busser or host, you may not be especially worried about their safety – unless you had a similar job back in the day. If you did, you know how many risks there are all around them.
Most of the serious dangers can be found in the kitchen where hot food and sharp knives abound. However, wherever there’s food and drink, there are risks of falls as well.
The 4 primary restaurant injuries
Nearly all worker injuries in restaurants fall into four categories. These are:
- Burns and scalds
- Cuts and punctures
- Slips and falls
- Sprains and strains
This last one is probably the least-considered category. While restaurant work doesn’t typically involve lifting and carrying very heavy loads, don’t underestimate the weight of a tray full of dishes for servers and bussers. Restaurant work also can involve reaching up on high shelves for supplies and moving tables.
Lack of safety training is often a problem for young workers
Too often, restaurant managers (and other employers) don’t take the time to give part-time and temporary employees — many of whom are students — the safety training they need to help them prevent injuries. However, all employees, regardless of their schedules, deserve the same training.
Further, teens are less likely to report injuries than their older colleagues. They may be afraid that they’ll lose their jobs or at least have their hours cut. They’re also more likely to subscribe to the “walk it off” approach to healing.
Teens have a right to workers’ compensation
It’s important for teens and their parents to know that they can and should report their injuries and that they have as much right as older employees to seek workers’ compensation benefits to cover medical care and help make up lost wages if they have to miss work. In fact, even minors employed in violation of child labor laws are entitled to workers’ comp. Further, employers can’t terminate or otherwise retaliate against employees for filing a valid workers’ comp claim.
If your teen is having difficulty being allowed to file a workers’ comp claim, is having trouble getting it approved or is suffering illegal consequences as a result of a claim, it’s wise to seek legal guidance.